She’s called Evergreen home for the past 15 years, but Cynthia Barclay says she’s lived all over the country. Her formative years were spent in Minneapolis, a place that helped prepare her for the year in Marshaltown, Iowa, when they experienced five weeks of sub-zero temperatures. Those days were offset by the heat in Las Vegas, where she lived for 20 years. The desire to be closer to her daughter and her family brought her to Colorado. “I wanted the grandmother role,” she says.
Admitting to being a “hippie wannabe,” Cynthia was enticed by the “Make Love Not War” slogan of the time. “But I was raised a strict Catholic and had to respect people,” she explains. She remembers hitchhiking to the beach with a one-year-old while living in Orange County, California. That child was Gail Montgomery, the well known actress who’s graced Center Stage many a time in numerous roles.
By day she’s employed as a legal assistant, but theatre and community service take up much of Cynthia’s spare time. Her former husband was a theatre coach in the Las Vegas schools, so Cynthia was introduced to “show business” by playing in “Grease” when school staff put on their rendition as a fundraiser for scholarships after the students did the official version. She’s since performed in “Nunsense,” “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?,” “Oklahoma” and “Guys and Dolls.” But her favorite role is that of grandmother to her two grandchildren.
Both daughter Gail and son-in-law Bruce, who each graduated with theatrical degrees, have been immersed in Center Stage here in Evergreen. So Cynthia’s been to LOTS of productions, sometimes helping in the front of the house with tickets and refreshments, sometimes assisting in the back of the house with moving sets and helping with costume changes.
She’d been involved with the Elks while married to one, finding that’s where they’d developed a lot of friends. Once she split, she had to join the club on her own to stay involved and became an officer right away. In 2007-8 she was named Exalted Ruler, only the second female in the Evergreen club to hold that office – “and none since,” she says with a certain amount of pride. She’s always been an officer or trustee.
Her pride in the Elks is obvious, telling of the many things the club does for the community, like taking meals to residents at Green Ridge Meadow before Thanksgiving, delivering Christmas breakfast to vets at the VA hospital, helping individual kids with meeting the cost for such things as musical instruments, driver’s education and doctor visits.
Kids are encouraged to participate in hoop shoots and soccer shoots sponsored by the Elks with opportunities to progress on to regional and national levels.
Kids seem to be a big part of the Elks’ focus, as the list continues with helping the scouts, sponsoring the Little Britches Rodeo, helping to provide fishing equipment for Outdoor Skills Day, as well as cleaning and cooking up the fish for the kids on that day. They provide dictionaries to all third graders in the district.
She enjoys the organizational side of things at the Elks, finding herself in charge of a lot of the functions, securing items for silent auctions, helping with Bingo sessions and such. For years she’s helped with the Awards Banquet for the 30 or so charitable groups that receive financial assistance from the Elks.
Her involvement ranges from helping with fulfilling Christmas wishes for the developmentally disabled at Laradon Hall to helping with the Easter egg hunt and pancake breakfast. The Elks played a part in the formation of Laradon Hall, and since 1950 the organization has adopted it as its State Project. It is a privately run non-residential special education and training center for children with developmental disabilities, providing individualized service and programming.
“The Elks Club is second only to the government nationally in giving out scholarships,” she points out. Locally, the Elks work with Bootstraps to sponsor scholarships to mid-range students not likely to earn other scholarships.
Most know the Elks as a fraternal organization – “completely American,” Cynthia adds. The Evergreen group has 286 members. To belong, one “must be 21 and believe in God and not have a felony on one’s record.” The organization has called a former bowling alley home for the past 50 years. In fact, the group is getting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Look for Cynthia in the Rodeo Parade – she’s there every year in costume on the Elks float. After all, she does a little bit of everything for the organization!